Lockback Folding knife, Koa handle

I’ve been trying some strategies in knifemaking, and it kind of feels like a breakthrough. The main knife I make is a lockback made from a kit. I recently tried a kit from Jantz Supply, the Bighorn Folder kit. Using koa for the scales, it came out nicely, maybe the best knife I have made. The Koa is from friends of mine, Steve and Wendy Schaeffer, of https://www.curlykoa.com/, in Dufur OR.


I guess this is my current procedure for assembling these kits:

Measure the diameter of the pins, because the pivot pin, spring pins, and liner pins are all different diameters, and they don't send extra pins for the pivot and spring pins.  Cut some oversized scales in a cutoff saw, to have a clean edge of wood to put against the edge of the bolster. I traced an outline of the knife frames on the wood, so I would know where to put the epoxy. I glued the scales to the knife frames, and let the epoxy dry overnight. The scales are 4-5 mm thick, and stand above the top of the bolster.

Next I drilled the pin holes. If you drill from the metal side and come out the wooden side, the bit may splinter the wood. I drill from the metal side toward the wood, using the depth stop on the drill press to have just the tippy tip of the bit make a little dimple on the wood side, then I drill from the wood side toward the metal. Then I cut off the excess wood with a hack saw. If you cut off the excess wood with a large tooth saw, it is easy to split the wood, but the small teeth of the hack saw don't put too much stress on the wood. Then use a rasp to remove wood to the edge of the metal, and use a belt sander to remove wood and epoxy will I see shiny metal of the frame. A drum sander bits fit into the blade release recess, and allowed those surfaces to be finish sanded to 400 grit before the parts were assembled.

Next some of the holes were delicately tapered using a hand turned taper bit, I don’t countersink the pin holes. I assembled the pieces, and taped the pins in placewith blue tape. I file or sand one end of a pin till it is very flat, put in place and cut it so that the pin extends about 1.5 mm from the wood on either side of the frames, and then flatten the other end of the pin. I start peening the spring pins first, with the lanyard tube in place. I peen those with light taps. The theory is that light tapping expands the shaft of the pin, and the head of the pin gets sanded off, revealing a very round pin. I put shim material next to whatever pin is being peened. Next I peen the backspring pin, with a shim, and lastly the pivot pin, also with a shim.

The handle was then sanded down till the scale was flush with the bolster, and the area around the rest of the scale was sanded down to about 3 mm thick.

The kit from Jantz come out looking good, and the kit runs about $40.  In this case I made a $40 knife kit into a knife comparable to a $5 Walmart knife. But mine is UNIQUE, and HANDMADE. The crazy thing is I’ve already started a new one.